Could Jarrett Guarantano be wearing a Rutgers helmet in 2017?
When most boys are 14-years-old, they are likely thinking about three things: how to impress their peers, how to get the cutest girl, and what they are doing to waste their summer afternoons.
For Jarrett Guarantano, he has to consider if he wants to accept his first collegiate offer from Rutgers.
That's right—a 14-year-old, who has yet to start high school, now has a verbal offer from the Big East New York-area school.
His birthday is days before Thanksgiving, which means that even though he was born in 1997, Guarantano is only 14.
Rutgers says they approached the young QB to get an early advantage on an in-state recruit, which makes sense, considering New Jersey is a small state.
Even though this isn't the first time a young athlete has received a scholarship offer, it still is mind-boggling for someone who has never played a down of high school football to even be considered to play at the college level, even if it is down the road.
Lane Kiffin had a keen eye when he began coaching for USC. He targeted young recruits who were under the- radar—clean-as-a-whistle prospects who no one else would target until they were in their prime.
Take David Sills, for example.
Back in February 2010, Kiffin landed the then 13-year-old QB from Delaware. Yes, Sills was 13 when he decided that he was going to attend USC. Most kids at that age can't even decide what time they want to wake up. This kid already knew where he was going to college.
The reasons why schools should target young prospects are slim. Better yet, they're ridiculous.
As much as the government needs to step away from college athletics as a whole, a justified interruption is needed. A high school student should not receive communication from an athletic program until they turn 17 years old or become a high school sophomore. High school freshman have no business thinking about college.
Nonetheless, schools have the ability to recruit young teenagers.
One of the biggest questions a team faces when recruiting such a young player is that the player is not yet in his/her prime. Colleges should let players develop before evaluating them for talent.
Colleges surely can't tell whether players are at their best when they're 13 and 14. Now, when players turn 15 and 16, maybe; but for now, let the kids be kids.